A fisherman from the Ramanathapuram district’s Pamban town has started ‘Kadal Osai FM 90.4’, India’s first and only radio channel for fisherfolk.
It offers infotainment to listeners – from information on marine and COVID-19 to folk songs sung by fishermen/women and film songs.
Armstrong Fernando, a fisherman from Pamban used to listen to the radio since his childhood. Fernando has studied till 8th standard, he grew up in the industry and travelLed to various places to listen to the community radio for farmers. Later, he planned to start a radio for his fishing community.
“Nearly 80 per cent population of Pamban is engaged in fishing. It was launched to help them. Our transmission range is 5-10 kilometers now. The government should increase the range and pave way for it to be broadcast across Pamban island,” said Armstrong Fernando, Director, and founder of ‘Kasal Osai FM 90.4’.
“Due to government regulations regarding the proximity of the Indian and Sri Lankan islands to the international border, island fishermen are only allowed to stay at sea for 24 hours. The fish they could catch during that period were sold at whatever price onshore. Sometimes information is collected and transmitted to know where there are more fish, as well as how they move during high-speed waves or storms,” he added.
This radio is becoming an integral part of everyday fishing life. Kadal Osai FM 90.4 is making a significant impact on the Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu as it transmits marine safety awareness to the latest information on social distance, from creating more alternative livelihoods.
Fishermen residing at Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu, located between peninsular India and Sri Lanka call it their radio station.
Apart from the station manager Gayatri, the other 12 staff members of the station are part-time fishermen or their family members.
Students, housewives, and fishermen learn about the daily happenings in the town as this channel benefits the local community.
It also serves as a direct link between the government and the community to quickly resolve people’s problems, from receiving government incentives to purchasing tokens for fishing.